I know that you probably have lots of questions right now. SCOBYs aren’t the prettiest things, so you’re probs confused and wondering if you’re supposed to eat that thing (please, God, no), or if it’s some kind of facial mask or what. I promise, all questions will be addressed, but just hang with me. SCOBYs are not easy to photograph, and it’s extra hard to make them look appetizing enough to be featured on a food blog.
A SCOBY is an acronym for ‘symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast’, and it’s used to make kombucha. Now what’s kombucha? It’s a naturally carbonated, sweet-and-sour drink made by fermenting tea. Like wine and coffee, kombucha takes a few times to get used to. It contains a little bit of alcohol naturally, but it’s perfectly safe for kids to drink! Mixed with fruits and juices, it’s very versatile and tons of flavor combos can be made. If you’re a big soda-fan looking to cut the sugar-y chemical-laden drink out of your life, kombucha is for you. Why? It has tons of health benefits!
Kombucha helps with gut and digestion health, detox, immune health, etc. However, I personally like kombucha, because it helps with stomach problems. My stomach is sensitive to all kinds of foods, and on certain days it can make me quite nauseous. Friends with similar stomach problems recommended kombucha, and I really love how it makes me feel! I don’t necessarily drink it every day, but every couple of days does the trick and really limits my ‘sick days’.
The only downside to kombucha is that the cost can add up if you’re consuming it in large amounts. My solution was to learn how to make it, starting with the SCOBY!
The SCOBY is necessary, because it helps ferment the tea, which also adds health benefits. You can buy SCOBYs online, but I’m incredibly impatient and don’t like waiting for things in the mail. My next option was to learn how to make one. (Bonus: buying the stuff to make a SCOBY is cheaper than buying a SCOBY online). Once you make one SCOBY, a new SCOBY will be made with every kombucha batch. You can start a farm of SCOBYs, or you can gift the new SCOBY to a kombucha-loving friend.
*Disclaimer: Some people recommend not making a SCOBY, but rather buying one, the main reason being that SCOBYs do not always grow if they’re homemade (has not been a problem for me at all). However, I see no real risks in growing a SCOBY, and mine turned out successful! Choose whatever option you’re comfortable with.
Let’s get started!
First, you’ll start by making a sweet tea. The best tea to use is regular black tea, because it helps the SCOBY grow. Once you have your new SCOBY, you can try other teas for the next batch, but try to use black tea at first! Kombucha works best with caffeinated, non-herbal teas. Herbal teas can damage the SCOBY, so be cautious. Alternatively, you can use 1 1/2 Tbs. loose-leaf, but make sure to strain the leaves out before making your SCOBY.
Next, you’ll mix together your (cooled) sweet tea with a cup of your organic, raw kombucha. You’ll want unflavored kombucha so that your SCOBY grows.
Then, you’ll put the mixture in a large jar. You’ll want to wrap the mouth of the jar with paper towels or coffee filters to keep out bugs. Then secure the paper towels with a rubber band, and pop on the lid!
Place your SCOBY in a dark room with an average temperature (not too cold, not too hot). Leave it there for about 4 weeks. You’ll start to notice a little film forming over the top. It’ll get thicker and thicker, it may change colors, get bubbles, etc. Don’t worry. As long as it doesn’t grow grey or green mold, it should be fine.
Once it’s all grown up, you can use it to make your own kombucha! The remaining liquid is drink-able, but it will be very strong. You can use some of the liquid to make your first batch of kombucha, but you’ll probably want to just discard the rest.
Start looking for new kombucha recipes in the near future! I’ve been coming up with all kinds of flavors (:
*Song of the Day: Youth Knows No Pain by Lykke Li*
In case you’re wondering if it’s a good idea to drink coffee anytime after 4 p.m., the answer is no. It’s not a good idea.
Even if you have a test the next day and plan on spending the whole night studying (and don’t), maybe just fight the sleeping pains, and don’t drink coffee.
Or you’ll be writing on your blog at midnight when you still have to pack for vacation.
Anyways, I made these for my friends for a “Merry Late-mas” gift. That’s when it’s February and you still haven’t given your friends their gifts.
They were super simple to make, and I think they turned out pretty cute. I actually like to put them around my coffee mugs at home as opposed to actual disposable coffee cups. 1. Because I always forget it when I go to a coffee shop, and 2. Because I’m one of those weird people that grabs the actual coffee mug and not the handle.
Coffee places are actually one of my favorite places in the whole entire world. You can catch me at a coffee house at least twice a week, maybe even more. At one point, I went to my favorite place five times in one week.
It’s not something that I’m proud of, but I have to accept my flaws.
Also, as many of you know, I plan to open a coffee shop after I graduate from college. So really, my nonsensical coffee obsession is all in the name of research.
My favorite place to research is called The Hub, and it’s a local place here in Reno. They roast their own coffee beans, and their coffee actually saved my life.
They’re the kind of coffee place that make you realize the reason that Starbuck’s puts so much sugar in their coffee is to mask the taste of their sub-par coffee.
Sorry Starbuck’s. It’s nothing personal really. I still hit you up sometimes when I have a giftcard or something.
Anyways, back to The Hub. If you’re ever in Reno, it’s a must stop. I prefer their location on Riverside (by the Truckee River…amazing!) but they also have a location on Cheney, which is the OG Hub. Order a pour-over (my favorite) or a latte (my second favorite) and you’ll be the happiest ever.
I really love their logo, which is why there’s so many pictures of it on here. Also, I have to show some coffee shop love for all the time they let me spend there studying.
P.S. These photos were not taken in The Hub. Partially because I didn’t have my camera when I went to there on Tuesday, and partially because sometimes I just don’t want to be “that girl taking pictures of her food” in public. I like to keep my food picture-taking a private affair.
But I did do my best to make my house kind of look like a coffee shop. Which really isn’t too hard, because it already kind of looks like a coffee shop. I mean, we have a Chemex, an Aeropress, a coffee grinder, the scale, the mugs…all we’re missing is the espresso machine (we’re taking donations). (6.11.15 Update: We now have an espresso machine…)
Plus, when I was setting up my coffee table for the pictures, I realized that my Fleetwood Mac “Rumours” album was the perfect accessory. My favorite coffee + one of my favorite albums ever = very happy Sara.
Unfortunately, I’m still trying to figure out my camera, so many of the pictures came out blurry 🙁 Boo. Hopefully when I visit my family this weekend, my brother can help me figure it all out.
Alright, sorry for talking so much. Here’s how to make these:
2 different fabrics (about 1/4 yard each to be safe)
1/4 yd. iron on adhesive fabric (I got the medium kind for insulation)
Thread, needle, sewing machine, etc.
Begin by taking a coffee sleeve from your favorite coffee shop. Trace it onto some printer paper, and cut out. (These were the blurry pics, so I didn’t post this step. It’s pretty simple, really).
Trace the shape on to your two different fabrics and your adhesive fabric.
Iron the adhesive fabric onto the wrong side of one of your fabrics. Lay your two fabrics good sides together.
Cut a two inch piece of elastic, fold, and place between the fabrics so a little bit is peeking out.
Sew around, the sleeve, making sure to back stitch over the elastic to ensure it stays in place. Make sure to leave a two inch gap.
Flip the sleeve inside out. Fold the seam in around the two inch gap, and top seam around the whole sleeve.
Fold the sleeve around a coffee cup, and mark where the elastic should meet the button. Hand sew the button in place.
These are the ones I made for my friends.
And if you want, you can flip it inside out and make it reversible. Or you could sew a button on the other side if you feel so inclined.
(I did not).
(But I may in the future).
Goodnight beautiful people.
*Song of the Day: Never Going Back Again–Fleetwood Mac*
I have been surprisingly social all weekend. I went to a football game on Friday (we won!) (Go Wolfpack!) and then my roommates and I spent the rest of the night with Schofferhofer Grapefruit Hefeweizen and Cards Against Humanity. If you have never played Cards Against Humanity, let’s just introduce you to their slogan : A party game for horrible people.
And that it is.
I also spent my Saturday night bar hopping with one of my best friends/pseudo cousin. Except that I had to drive home so my bar hopping experience was mostly just me getting leaned on by a bunch of drunk people.
Good times right?
The whole drinking and Cards Against Humanity thing ties together because:
1. Most of the time, if you’re playing Cards Against Humanity, you are simultaneously drinking.
And 2. When I told my roommate, “The only two games I know how to play are beer pong and Cards Against Humanity. What does that say about me?”, his response was, “You’re an evil alcoholic.”
So there’s that.
And now about Zuppa Toscana. It is that delicious soup at Olive Garden with sausage, potatoes, and kale. The broth is lightly creamy and a little spicy.
It is also 220 calories for a bowl of it at Olive Garden. That doesn’t seem tooooo bad, until you consider that it has 15 g of fat and 990 mg of sodium in it. And when you consider that you’re going to have another bowl of it. And a glass (or two) of wine. And probably some type of pasta. And that salad, which also doesn’t seem too bad until you see that there are 150 calories, 10 g of fat, and 760 mg of sodium in it. Also, don’t forget that you’re going to eat like, 4 of those bread sticks (140 calories, 2.5 g fat, 460 mg sodium)
Holy shit, what is in this stuff?
Anyways, I definitely recreated the recipe and lightened it up quite a bit. I calculated it all up and it was about 350 calories per serving. The recipe serves 4, so you get quite a big serving of soup for less than 400 calories. Also, you just throw it in a crockpot. So easy guys.
*The recipe was originally from Fix it and Forget it, but has been changed dramatically*
6 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 c. whole milk or half and half
2 carrots, grated
3 russet potatoes, sliced
4 cups kale, chopped slightly
1 lb. turkey Italian sausage
Dash salt and pepper
Sprinkle of garlic powder
Sprinkle onion powder
1/4-1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling
Grate 2 carrots into your crockpot.
Pour in chicken broth.
And the whole milk/half and half.
Slice up your potatoes.
Add them to your broth.
Brown the sausage.
Add it to your broth.
Sprinkle your spices!
Cook for 3-4 hours on high, stirring every once in a while.
1 hour, I REPEAT, 1 HOUR before serving, stir in kale. If you do it any earlier, it will be grossly soggy. Do you want soggy kale? Do you?!
No. You really don’t.
Serve with a light homemade salad and some whole wheat rolls. Sprinkle it with a little parm.
Yum yum yum. This is definitely going to be my fall favorite.
Bonus: It’s gluten free naturally!
It doesn’t taste exactly like the Olive Garden version, but it’s pretty damn close for a light version. Sometime (when you feel really naughty) go ahead and use regular chicken broth, cream, and pork Italian sausage. Or just go to Olive Garden and really go all out. I’m normally not a fan of chains, but I still love Olive Garden every once in a while.
But just make this, okay?
Do you love American Apparel?
Do you cry every time they ring up your total?
*sob* *raises hand*
American Apparel is one of my most favorite stores in the whole world. I bought two dresses last time I shopped there. I don’t have anywhere to wear these dresses (I wear them all the time actually. Better overdressed than underdressed or something like that). I think I had the whole “I’ll wear this on a date!” idea in my head. Until, you know, I didn’t go on any dates.
I have a whole point to this guys. I saw these wire headbands at American Apparel (when I was buying said dresses). I fell in love with them. Especially a white one with black polka dots. It spoke to me.
But the price did not. Maybe if I only wanted to buy 1. But I wanted to buy all the prints.
And then I realized how incredibly easy they would be to make! Please keep in mind: I am no advanced sew-er.
(I was going to write “sewer” until I realized that made it seem like I was a dark underground tunnel full of waste and then I got sad. When I say “sew-er”, I mean somebody that sews.)
(In case you couldn’t figure that out.)
To hand sew mine, it took an hour. It would probably take half that time with a sewing machine. Which I have. Which is in the back of my closet. Which may or may not work depending on the day (and how the user handles the situation).
So I opted to hand sew. It’s up to you.
1/4 yard of fabric–I recommend cotton or something easy to sew!
Needle or sewing machine
Pencil or white colored pencil
22 gauge (floral) wire
Jewelry pliers (optional)
Got it?! Good! You’re ready to go.
First, begin by measuring and cutting fabric. Measure it at least 32 inches long and about 4 inches wide for a 2 inch wide headband. It may be a little under 2 inches for seam allowance. If you’re dead set on the final headband being 2 inches wide, make it about 4.5 inches wide at first.
NOW BE SMART UNLIKE ME. Keep it one piece and fold it over so you only have to sew up one side. I was dumb. I cut it in half. I had to sew up two sides. DON’T DO THAT GUYS.
Just fold the fabric in half so that the good sides of the fabric are touching (you know it’s the good side if it’s the pretty side. If it looks faded, it’s the bad side. Hard to tell with black!). Make sure to fold it hotdog style.
Now measure your wire about two inches longer than your fabric. Twist each side into a loop. You can use pliers or your fingers. I used my fingers which is a little pokey, but you could probably live through it. Make sure there are no sharp points on the wire that could pierce through your skeleton and into your brain.
Cut each side into this shape, at an angle. You don’t really have to do it, but it looks better. I traced one side with a white colored pencil, cut it out, and then used the scraps to trace the other end and cut it out. Make sense?
Sew it up! But not all the way guys. Just chill.
Sew it until there are about two inches left in the middle. Make sure it’s the middle so that when you finish sewing it up, the stitches are less noticeable.
Then flip it the right side out. Just push the fabric through the middle hole and use a chop stick or your fingers to get it all the way through. It’ll work. I promise. It might just take a few minutes.
Put the wire through the hole in the center. Bend it around so that the loops are at the end points.
Stitch up the hole in the center.
At this point, you’re going to want to find the loops through the fabric. Then make a little stitch inside the loop so that the wire doesn’t move around to the middle of the headband. This is optional, but very helpful. If you use a matching thread, you won’t even notice the little stitch!
Then just twist is around your head!
You can twist the little end points into a knot…
*queue sultry look apparently*
…Or put the endpoints under your hair so that it’s flat on top…
…or wear it Matilda style! Which is my fave.
Reasons why these headbands rock:
1. They can be manipulated into many different styles.
2. They’re easy and you can pick your own fabrics.
3. They actually stay in place all day.
4. The best reason. No headache! They don’t squeeze your noggin. It’s a frickin miracle!
Let me know what you think of these you guys. If you have questions, please ask. Sometimes it can be difficult to explain these things over a blog!
Once again it’s a work night and I am up wayyyy too late.
I haven’t posted in a long time and I don’t have any excuses other than my internet hasn’t been working for the past week or so. No matter how much it bothers me to admit this, wifi is a really good thing.
Also, for some reason my speakers on my laptop haven’t been working for about a week as well. What are you doing to me technology?!
*takes deep breath because she doesn’t want her readers to think she’s a psycho*
At this point in my life, I’m starting to know people getting married and having babies. Since I’m only in college, I was hoping this would wait a few years at least, but that seems to not be the case. The transition between childhood and adulthood is crazy fast isn’t it? Time flies when you’re having fun.
Anyways, I went to my first baby shower a couple of weeks ago. There was no registry for gifts so I figured I would get the baby pajamas or a cute outfit when I realized that’s what everyone and their mother (literally) would be getting the baby.
And then I thought of this idea. Okay, I didn’t really think of it, but I remembered seeing something about it on Pinterest a few months ago and it happened to pop into my head at that moment. And I figured it couldn’t be too hard.
I was right!
This is a super easy DIY craft! So easy, that my brain decided taking pictures would be unnecessary. Yeah, I know. I say that a lot. But I promise, I can explain with words!
1. Gather your materials: yarn of choice (you don’t need anything too expensive–trust me), a cardboard letter (found at JoAnn’s), hot glue, any decorations you may want (I made my owl by hand out of some felt).
2. Cut out little strips (about 2 in. long) of yarn and glue them across on all of the flat parts:
This will make your life way easier!
3. Then wrap the rest of it gluing it periodically so that it stays in place. Make one side your gluing side because it might show and you want a nice side! Glue it at the end really well!
4. Attach your decoration with glue. I just traced the owl, cut it out and glued/sewed on details (the eyes, wings, beak, etc.). I don’t really have instructions for that because it was so homemade! If you’re interested, I could try to explain better 🙂
Super easy, frugal, and cute! I used the colors/theme for their nursery, so it’s easily customizable. If you do not know the first name of the baby, you could always use their last name initial. Or the whole name if you’re up for it! This would also be perfect for a wedding shower gift, birthday gift, etc. This letter took me about 2 hours but probably would take less since I know what I’m doing now 🙂
Let me know what you think of this cute craft!
I don’t know if anything in this world could ever be as cute as Eos turned into Easter eggs and then put in a little homemade baskets.
I have endearingly began calling these guys “Eos-ter” eggs because I’m ridiculous and that’s just the kind of thing that I do.
But I just love them and they made a perfect Easter gift for my mom, grandma, cousins, and aunts. Everyone loved them! If you don’t know why it’s because, clearly, you haven’t used Eos chapstick before. If you haven’t, you should probably rush yourself to Target or Wal Mart this instance and get going on that.
But that’s just my opinion.
Here’s how to make them! (I’m the worst, and I didn’t get pictures. Luckily, it’s pretty straightforward).
Things You’ll Need:
As many Eos as you need-I got a package of 5 Eos at Costco and then got 1 more at Wal Mart for a total of 6 that I needed.
Small plastic cups
Cute cupcake liners (optional, but recommended)–$1 store find!
Glitter glue! (optional, but recommended)
Easter grass-$1 store find!
Cute ribbon (try to find stiff ribbon so it maintains its shape)
Candy! (optional)-I got mine in bulk at Winco
1. Using your glitter glue, make designs all over the Eos. I chose to do this to make them cuter and more Easter egg looking. You could probably use different colors of paint and really go for it, but I liked simple little dots! Let these dry for about 2 hours up to overnight if you wish.
2. Place a cupcake liner in the bottom of each little plastic cup. They fit perfectly in those fat, short plastic cups you get on airplanes. This is optional, but makes it look sooo much cuter than if you just use grass.
3. Place a healthy amount of Easter grass in the cup. You want it to poke up way over the cupcake liner or it just doesn’t look very cute.
4. Measure out ribbon for a handle and glue gun each side to the cup. Let them dry for about 20 minutes so they really stick.
5. Place candy in the Easter grass (as you will see later, this is optional, but it’s a nice little treat).
6. Place your Eos-ter egg on top!
You can choose to leave candy out of it, which really makes the Eos look more like an egg, but the candy looks really cute too.
My family truly loved these. I got rave reviews.
These would be perfect for teachers or co-workers, and I promise they will like them much more than some Easter eggs filled with candy!
Did I mention that I would definitely recommend adding candy to these? They look cuter without candy for pictures, but they look so cute with candy in real life!
Plus, they aren’t very expensive to make. The most expensive part is the Eos which was $10.99 for a 5 package at Costco and $2.00 for an additional one at Wal Mart. Not bad for a gift that people will actually use and like! The orange one does not come in the five pack, but it smells amazing.
If you do not have time to make the baskets, you could buy little candy holders at the dollar store from the Easter section. They come in a package and look like small, Easter themed Chinese takeout containers. Just add some Easter grass, candy, and an Eos-ter egg and you’re all set.
Or you can just opt to make the cute little baskets, which only take about 20 minutes, maybe even less.
Just listen to The Motorhomes-Songs for Me (And My Baby) like I did and they’ll go super fast.
Or you can listen to whatever floats your boat.
But I recommend The Motorhomes.
*I am not being paid by Eos to promote their products. I simply had the idea and I am in love with their chapsticks!*
It’s one of my faves. But I do not love the store bought stuff. How do you make something so healthy taste so chemical-y? They find a way, I’m telling you.
So I made my own! Homemade tahini and everything.
This is perfect with fresh veggies and whole wheat toasted pita bread. I could go eat some right now, and I just might.
I even accidentally stabbed myself with my blender to make this stuff, so sacrifice was involved.
That’s how good hummus is. I’m willing to give some blood for it.
But somebody’s gotta do it, ya know?
Oh, did I mention how easy it is to make this? Even homemade tahini is so simple! Just blend up the tahini, scrape it out and make the hummus right away. No clean up involved. It only took me about 30 minutes, and I was on my way to Greek food heaven. Maybe gyros will happen this weekend? It’s so possible.
Follow the directions like this and you will have a perfectly smooth hummus! Any other way might not end up with the best results. Go with your gut, but keep in mind, this is my recommendation 😉
Spoon tahini into a blender.
Add fresh lemon juice…
Blend away! Let it just blend for a good two minutes. Scrape occasionally.
Add a bunch of chopped garlic!
And some salt.
And some paprika!
And don’t forget about the olive oil. My favorite of all the oils.
Blend it up! I actually used a little too much paprika so mine looked kind of reddish orange. You do not have to make my same mistakes, but you can if you want.
Add chick peas and blend until smooth and creamy. (At this point, it will be thick, so add some water to get it to the desired consistency).
Have I ever mentioned how good hummus is with warm whole wheat pita bread? It’s da best.
2 cans chickpeas
2 Tbs. tahini
Juice of 2 lemons
8 cloves garlic (you may use less, I recommend this many though)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. paprika
1/4 c. olive oil
2-4 Tbs. water, to thin (I needed 4)
Drain chickpeas and rinse in cold water. Set aside to drain all of the water out.
Spoon the tahini in a blender and squeeze as much lemon juice as you can in with the tahini. Blend together for about 2 minutes, scraping occasionally. Add garlic, salt, paprika, and olive oil. Blend for a few more minutes, scraping sides occasionally.
Add chickpeas about 1 1/2 cups at a time. Blend thoroughly so that the hummus is nice and smooth. Add water to thin to desired consistency.
Makes about 4 cups.
*This recipe is vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free!
*Paleo: Replace chickpeas with roasted eggplant or roasted cauliflower.
Reno is so super chilly right now. Like, so chilly that it snowed all night so that when I woke up there was snow all over the ground! I’ve never woken up to snow before so that was awesome. Perks of living super close to the mountains. The middle of the city doesn’t get any snow!
But like I said, it’s so cold. Like, I am having a really hard time typing right now because my fingers are so cold.
The things I do for you people.
With Halloween just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to make a festive wreath to celebrate. I decorated the rest of my house with Halloween too, but this is probably my favorite decoration I have.
And yeah, I know…Halloween is Thursday so I’m kind of getting to this kind of late. But now you can get all your ribbon on sale on Friday and make it for next year!
Luckily for those of you who want to make one before your trick or treaters arrive, this was less than $2 to make. Frugal score.
Actually, does anyone else hate the word frugal too, or is that just me? So inexpensive score? Cheap score? Whatever, it looks cute.
Things You’ll Need
1 stick wreath from the dollar store (they’re a little smaller than normal stick wreaths, but still cute!)
Black paint (or whatever color you like)
1-3 kinds of ribbon (I found that two looked best)
Hot glue (with glue gun, obvi)
Fake spider webs
Spider ring (optional)
Total cost: $1 for wreath, $2 for ribbon (only used probably $.25 of it though), $1 for fake spider web (probably used about $.05 of it), had hot glue/gun, had black paint (cheap at store though!)= Like I said, under $2 but I don’t know the for sure price.
Paint wreath using a sponge brush. You could also spray paint it, but I liked the brown showing through the black paint a little bit. Let the wreath dry for 2 hours or overnight depending on how much paint you use.
When dry, flip the wreath over and glue strips of ribbon opposite sides from each other. Put as much as you want, and cross a few to make it look cute!
Glue a few strings of fake web across from each other as well. Spread them to make them look more “webby”.
Add a spider ring if you want! I did later on which is why only one of my pictures has a spider on it. But isn’t it so much cuter?!
I think so.
I think it would also be so cute to use orange, purple, or green ribbon for the wreath but since my door is a blueish gray, I decided black and white would look best.
Without drying time, this wreath took me about 30 minutes. That’s my type of project!
Just add a little ribbon on top and hang on your door. I got a wreath hanger at WalMart for $3. Worth it.
Hope you all have a great Halloween!
What are you guys going to be? B and I were going to be Shaggy and Daphne (and Lacy was going to be Scooby) but he has to work so now I’m going to be a scarecrow. Another DIY? Perhaps.
Have a great week!